Sri Lanka Tsunami 2004 revisited part 2

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Tsunami damage Sri lanka 2004 by John Wilson Australian photojournalist Tsunami damage Sri lanka 2004 by John Wilson Australian photojournalist

Boxing day tsunami survivors search for their homes Sri Lanka 2004.

If surviving the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka wasn't tough enough, the return home for survivors presented unbearable trauma for many. 

As I managed to make my way through the worst affected areas of southern and eastern Sri Lanka I would see vast areas of land wiped clean of almost all evidence of human habitation and then I’d discover areas where buildings and structures had somehow survived the onslaught by the tsunami. Survived was mostly a relative term as most buildings that had offered resistance to the tsunami’s relentless march inland had sustained significant damage to footings and or walls and rooves let alone the thick and stinking layers of mud and debris that carpeted rooms and surrounding land.

A home that survived the 2004 tsunami in Sri lanka.

The young girl (Prabodha, 3y.o.) sitting on a bed was fortunate she was with her parents visiting relatives in Colombo when the tsunami hit. On returning home several days layer her family was left with only the clothes they were wearing as all their belongings had been swept away. When I found the family it had been several days since the tsunami had been and they had managed to find some bedding material but had been unable to clean the house due to lack of fresh water and availability of cleaning equipment. The rooms had a stale stench because the mud and grime that covered the floors and walls were infused with a mixture of salt water and raw effluent. The young girls mother, Tushari, told me that although they were terribly saddened at the damage to their home and loss of belongings she felt for her neighbours whose houses had been reduced to rubble.

Tsunami 2004 damage in Sri lanka

3y.o Prabodha sits in a bedroom of her family house which is soaked with mud infused with salt water and raw effluent.


3y.o Prabodha and mother Tushari outside their home amongst the rubble of their neighbours homes.


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